Collaborative schools project empowers students from across eight schools

Pictured (L-R) at the Advance Manufacturing Pathway Schools’ Project event in Belfast is International Fund for Ireland (IFI) Chairman Paddy Harte with Aisling Cartmill (Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre) and Fiona Ni Chaoindealbhain (Louth and Meath Education and Training Board).

Eight schools from across Northern Ireland and the southern border counties came together today, to mark their achievements in the Advance Manufacturing Pathways Schools Project – funded by the International Fund for Ireland, through their Communities in Partnership Programme (CiPP).

The cross community, cross-border initiative is delivered by Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) and Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) with the Education provider – FIT (Fastrack into Information Technology) and brings together eight schools from across Belfast, Drogheda, and Dundalk.

The IFI’s Communities in Partnership Programme (CiPP), which funds this project, is focused on embedding lasting relationships on a cross-border basis by supporting cooperation and innovation between groups and organisations North and South on projects that have a meaningful benefit for local communities.

During the event, several students were awarded prizes as part of the ‘project challenge’ including for ‘Best Design’ and ‘Best Innovation’ with all schools receiving certificates for their participation. The eight schools who took part include Belfast Boys Model School, Mercy College Belfast, St. Louise’s College Belfast, Dundonald High School, Bush Post Primary School Dundalk, Coláiste Chú Chulainn Dundalk, O’Fiaich College Dundalk and Scoil Uí Mhuirí in Dunleer.

Paddy Harte, IFI Chair attended the event and said,

“This initiative demonstrates what can be achieved through collaboration and partnerships. Working with industry experts we can deliver a project that offers practical support and guidance for young people, whilst continuing to deliver on a key objective of the IFI’s Communities in Partnership Programme (CiPP) – embedding lasting relationships on a cross-border basis.

“The uniqueness of this type of project is its dual focus of providing an important foundation for young people to develop important skills in advanced manufacturing, whilst offering the opportunity to develop important cross-border engagement between local communities.

“Getting the opportunity to hear from students who have been taking part in the project over the last twelve months and about their experience of the initiative is what makes these projects worthwhile.”

The project offered opportunities for more than 200 students to learn about developing career opportunities in advanced manufacturing, acquiring key skills which they can use in their future career development.

Participating in the project also offered teachers CPD Training, which was delivered by Queens University Belfast, and provided students and teachers the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with cutting edge technologies in their own School, in the AMTCE (Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence) Dundalk, and Queens University Belfast, Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (AMIC) Belfast.